Reviewed by Phil Hine
Anthropological models of magic have been as important for practitioners as they have been for scholars – as can be seen by the influence of early theorists such as Tylor, James Frazer or Eliade in shaping practitioner’s own understandings of magic. In this book, practitioner-ethnographer Susan Greenwood reviews and critiques dominant anthropological approaches to magic; and argues that to move towards a fuller understanding of magic, anthropology needs to develop a radically different approach. She offers the proposal that magic is an aspect of human consciousness – in particular, magical consciousness:
…a mythopoetic, expanded aspect of awareness that can potentially be experienced by everyone; it is expressed in myriad varying situations and contexts, and it informs both the shaping of cosmological realities and individual behaviour as well as social structures … Thus magical consciousness is an aspect of mind that occurs in a multiplicity of ways in varying individuals and cultural contexts, and through time.